Depression, anxiety top calls to health line

Service provider says increase in queries is as sign people are talking about mental health


Calls to St Patrick’s Mental Health Support Services increased by 29 per cent in 2013 - while the number of email enquiries almost doubled, new figures reveal.

Figures for 2013 show enquiries relating to depression were 572 - up from compared to 382 in 2012.

There were almost three times the numbers of female callers - 1,846 - to the helpine than males, at 664.

The top mental health concerns, in calls and emails, related to depression (572); anxiety (268), and obsessive compulsive disorder (255).

Other calls and emails related to addictions (170), psychosis (110), eating disorder (69), bipolar disorder (38), and adolescent mental health (87).

The number of non-specific enquiries about mental health advice was 886.

While the increase in calls encompassed a greater workload for the service, Tom Maher, Director of Clinical Services at St Patrick’s said it was “encouraging to see the substantial increase in mental health queries”.

It was, he said, a sign that we are getting better at talking about our mental health which is a hugely positive development.”

St Patrick’s Mental Health Services are an independently governed, not-for-profit mental health service catering for service users from all over Ireland. It runs St Patrick’s Hospital in Dublin’s Steeven’s Lane and a number of other facilities.

It said 2013 was the busiest year yet for its Mental Health telephone support service, is now in its fifth year.

Financed by the St Patrick’s Mental Health Foundation Walk in My Shoes campaign, this service is the only one of its kind in the country and is staffed by experienced mental health nurses. The service provides advice, guidance and support for the public, health care professionals and mental health care service users.

The Support and Information service is available Monday to Friday with a voicemail and call-back facility. For further information, contact (01) 2493333 or email